Mini Drivers Dream Up the Craziest, Coolest Test Drives Ever … and Then Go Do Them

10 amazing videos introduce the new Hardtop

I'm positively floored by the fun series of Web videos by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners and Tool of North America introducing the BMW Mini Cooper Hardtop.

Client and agency asked real Mini owners to think up creative "test drives" to showcase the vehicles. After receiving 800 submissions, they produced 10 videos. The work strikes a happy balance between user-generated content and traditional advertising, with the owners' ideas sparking consistently entertaining, engaging and, in some cases, surprising results.

Running between one and two minutes each, and starring the owners who proposed the concepts, some of the vignettes are simple, others quite involved.

But there's isn't a lemon in the lot.

Highlights include "Getting Medieval," which shows heavily armed and armored knights jousting in their Minis; "Midnight Black Light," with LED headlamps replaced by black lights that cut through a dazzling landscape of fluorescent paint; and my favorite, "Sex Appeal," a tongue-in-cheek, Burt Reynolds/Cosmo-style photo shoot with scented candles, a spray-on tan, bulging obliques—and probably a car in there somewhere, too.

"I was very happy to play the fool—it was supposed to be a spoof and purposely goofy—and the crew were impressed with my willingness to look like an ass," Thomas Lhamon, a chemistry teacher and the star of "Sex Appeal," tells AdFreak of his racy test drive. He wanted to see how many Facebook likes he could generate by posing with the Hardtop, and his video highlights the car's connected apps.

In fact, all mentions of specific brand attributes feel unforced and logical. For example, "Parallel Universe" has Minis squeezing between elephants, shopping carts and even planets to showcase parking-assistance technology, while "Foot-to-Pedal Style," all about shopping for cute shoes, touts cargo space.

Though each is amusing in its own right, the 10 videos, posted below, work especially well when viewed as a series. There's also a whole microsite here. All told, these owners did a fantastic job of generating ideas. Maybe they should shift into advertising. Actually, with this campaign, I guess they have.

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@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.